Skyler Howard was almost like a sign of things to come for the WVU football team. He was a prolific passer and a solid team leader. Will Grier looks to do the same this year and next year for the Mountaineers.
Skyler Howard never really won over the whole West Virginia fanbase. He was decent in many aspects, while showing some signs of brilliance once in a while. He also had lapses of bad play, which stuck out like a sore thumb.
Howard also didn’t come across with the best intentions. He riled up the fans not just for some spotty play on the field, but also for comments he made in several media sessions.
Howard made it clear that he was a football player first and a Mountaineer second. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it just didn’t come across in the best way. Veteran WVU sports writer Bob Hertzel wrote about Howard’s attitude leading up to last year’s Senior Day celebrations. In a Register-Herald article written by Hertzel, Howard said,
"“Another opportunity to get booed, walking out there with my mom … Senior Day is good — you know, for the guys who really feel welcome and at home, it’s good. The guys in our team room, that’s good to send the seniors off the right way.“ I just want to play some ball. That’s what I came here for, that’s what I’m going to do Saturday and it’s what I’m going to do in our bowl game.”"
Howard was confident and cocky during his West Virginia tenure. Now that his days on the team are over, Howard has not forgotten about the Mountaineers he left behind. Even though he made those comments that may have suggested otherwise, Howard will always have a soft spot for Morgantown. He wants to see his fellow Mountaineers succeed.
That includes current West Virginia quarterback Will Grier. Grier and Howard may have only spent a few months together in Morgantown, but they developed a nice friendship that still continues on.
For his performance in a loss against Virginia Tech, Will Grier opened some eyes. For a quarterback to gain high remarks in a tough loss, that’s a nice sign. Grier was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week following the season-opener against the Hokies.
That should be a boost to Grier’s confidence as he and his WVU teammates look to bounce back this weekend against East Carolina. The fans will pack Milan Puskar Stadium on Saturday to cheer on their new quarterback.
So will Howard. He is still fighting for a future in professional football, although he already had a taste of it in the spring when he was signed to a deal by the Seattle Seahawks. He was waived after a few weeks, but that won’t kill Howard’s competitive spirit.
He may not physically be in Morgantown on Saturday, and he may never want to return, but in spirit he will continue to support Will Grier.